Thursday, April 22, 2010

Obama Arrives To Cheers At Astor Place

President Obama has just arrived at Cooper Union, just east of Astor Place in Manhattan. Streets were cordoned off throughout the area and the streets were lined with police, media trucks, and sand trucks. Snipers were apparent on at least one rooftop.
The motorcade was welcomed by a warm round of applause and cheers. No protesters were evident on 4th Avenue or Lafayette aside from one elderly lady who was murmuring something about torture and concentration camps, but chances are that she would probably have been doing so whether or not the President was in town. On Third Avenue there were a grand total of 7 protesters, one of whom was a vocal proponent of Obama, while the others were a group with diverse and mixed messages of pro and anti bank and one woman protesting in support of people "who are afraid of their bosses". What can I say, folks.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Phew! Strike Averted By Building Workers

Wow, that Realty Advisory Board sure knows how to talk a good game. But, when it came down to it, seems that the Building workers union came out okay. A strike was averted in the wee hours this morning after a marathon negotiating session that netted workers a 10% increase in wages over the next four years, and apparently no givebacks on benefits aside from agreeing to $70 Million in savings on health care through "efficiencies".
NYC Building Workers Strike Averted (WNBC)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Strike Watch: Doorman Strike Looms, Doormen Smell Doom

I've been keeping a close watch on the labor situation here in NYC between the building workers union (SEIU BJ 32) and the Realty Advisory Board for the past couple of months. I have been reluctant to report on it because a strike was theoretical. That began to change a few weeks ago when the union authorized a strike. At that point, I would have given a strike a 20% chance. Then, there was the big demonstration on Park Avenue which was attended by an increasingly cantankerous bunch of union members. Pop the odds up to 40%. Given the way these negotiations usually work, it usually goes down to the wire. More times than not, the last minute bargaining usually leads to a deal. However, according to many doormen that I have spoken to over the past several weeks, the mood has darkened. Guys who two weeks ago were telling me "we'll have to see" are now telling me that "it's on". Although there have been mixed reports from the Realty Advisory Board today which reported both "significant progress on some (non-wage) issues" and yet a large divide on other issues, there have been no leaks on the labor side of these negotiations. This is an ominous sign according to building workers that were on the job during the last strike 2 decades ago. To them, it seems like deja vu all over again and fits the pattern of the last strike. So where do we stand? With less than 90 minutes to deadline, I would say that the chances of a strike are 50%++ (okay, make it 60/40).
The tenant ID cards have been handed out, the garbage chutes have been locked, and it is now wait and see. Nobody wants to see a strike- the tenants, the building workers, and presumably The Realty Advisory board. But, tick, tick, at a minimum, this is a close one.

Monday, April 19, 2010

LIC: Murano Color Madness Gets Test Run

It's quite a show! Over the weekend I noticed that the Murano "24 hour light clock" was getting a test run. The clock which displays a rainbow of color emanating from the junction of the 8th and 9th floor on the southwest corner of the building and the lobby was brightening up the night. It's bright alright, and the lights are enough to illuminate the otherwise drab Midtown Tunnel vent a few hundred yards away. If I understand it correctly, the lights will gradually change color over a 24 hour period. It looks like in the test run that the entire spectrum is covered in less than 20 seconds. The big question though- who is going to live right under the light? If you ask me, the 8th floor corner apartment is going to be a tough sell.

Untitled from Andrew Fine on Vimeo.

Untitled from Andrew Fine on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Breaking: Elderly Driver Drives Down Sidewalk On East 84th Narrowly Misses Women, Children

A late model maroon 4 door sedan driven by an elderly man with an elderly woman by his side took a potentially deadly turn onto the sidewalk on East 84th Street between 3rd and Lexington this morning at approximately 9 40am. The car came down the North sidewalk towards Third Avenue, striking 2 wrought iron planter fences and a tree before backing up and striking a large concrete planter and then going back into drive along the sidewalk narrowly missing 3 children and several adults at the corner of Third Avenue. The couple fled the scene by driving the wrong way down Third Avenue. Their whereabouts are unknown, however, nearby buildings are working with police to analyze videotape to get a plate number. The vehicle in question is missing a hubcap, left tail light and has extensive damage to both the front and rear end of the vehicle. East Siders beware!
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thousands March And Rally For Building Workers 32BJ SEIU

A rowdy, surreal, and festive atmosphere was evident on ritzy Park Avenue this evening as thousands of building workers marched and rallied to 83rd street and Park Avenue. Helicopters whirled overhead as spontaneous chants broke out and workers mobbed any available tv camera to plea their case. Soul music was blaring in the streets in front of New York City's most expensive prewar coops. For an hour or two at least, thousands of the 30,000 plus strong union owned Park Avenue. Folks were fired up and as one worker, Miguel told me, "a strike is 90 percent". That echoed the sentiments of many in the crowd and if they are right, the elite of Park (and many not so elite) around the city will be handling their own trash and own doors in just a week.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Friday, April 9, 2010

LIC: It Has A Name, "1 Vernon Jackson"!

After much preparation and deliberation, the condo at the intersection of Vernon and Jackson in LIC has been named, and it is a no-brainer: "1 Vernon Jackson". This info was passed on directly to me from the developer. There was deliberation between "One" and "1", but, despite my preference for it being spelled out, it is too late! The decision has been made and the teaser website should be up any time now. Sales are expected to start (for real this time) in 3-4 weeks. Priced right (and there is no definitive word on pricing just yet), this pet project from Times Square with the thickest floors in LIC should be a winner. Stay tuned for more details and an official opening date.
Previously: It's A Condo, Shower With View Included
10-17 Half Skinned
LIC Mystery Revealed: 10-17 Jackson Shines!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sad Tale Of East Hampton's Beached Baby Whale

It is a sad sight indeed. A 25 foot long baby humpback whale beached in East Hampton, Long Island may be seeing its last tide. According to David Morin (from National Marine Fishery Service), the plan is to euthanize the animal at the next low tide, approximately 5pm today. Despite being sedated earlier today, the whale is able to flap its tail, flippers and blow its spout. The whale seems pretty active, but the chance of it getting out to sea before the vets get it with a deadly dart gun is virtually nil. Such beachings are very rare, Morin says he's only seen it twice and that the beaching is indicative of serious ill ness or possible being hit by a ship.
Hundreds have ventured the half mile down the beach to watch and say goodbye to the majestic beast.
Live from a jetty in East Hampton.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T